This photo-like image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/ (MODIS) on NASA's terra.nasa.gov/ Terra satellite on September 19, 2006, at 10:15 a.m. local time (14:15 UTC). Helene is a well-defined, sprawling storm system with long spiral arms, a tightly wound central portion, and a distinct eyewall of clouds encircling a cloud-filled eye. These are all telltale signs of a powerful hurricane. According to the University of Hawaii's http://www.solar.ifa.hawaii.edu/Tropical/tropical.html Tropical Storm Information Center, Helene had sustained winds reaching as high as 185 kilometers per hour (115 miles per hour), making it a powerful Category 3 storm. As of September 19, Helene was predicted to build power slightly since it was traveling over warm seas with no significant land to disrupt it.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of the rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/ MODIS Rapid Response team.